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Canada: 17 Roles Filled in 3 Months for Major Copper-Gold Expansion Project

In 2020, like most mining companies in Canada, one of our clients was facing a severe labour shortage at its copper-gold mining operation in British Columbia. But in three months, they filled 17 project critical roles through a small-scale Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) program—and many of those hires were First Nations people from the region. 

Located in the ‘Golden Triangle’ in remote British Colombia, the environmental conditions at this mining operation are tough. Travel to the site can take an entire day, rosters are often long, and the staff live in freezing conditions for a significant part of the year. 

Not only was it a challenge to attract people to work there, but it was coupled with a challenging labour market. 

North America mining labour shortage

“The mining industry across Canada and the United States is grappling with a pronounced labour deficit,” says Agata Sobolewska, Recruitment Delivery Manager – North America at Globe 24-7. 

A 2023 report by the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) in Canada says that only 3 percent of students are entering the mining sector. There’s a dwindling influx of new talent. Plus, a substantial portion of the workforce is reaching retirement age. 

This challenging labour market was coupled with fewer people on site and delayed expansion work schedules due to the pandemic. But as operations ramped back up, so did an urgent need for people with technical and operational skills. 

As a result, the internal team understood the need to be agile and decided to run a small-scale Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) program. 

How small-scale RPOs work

Just like a regular full-scale RPO, a small-scale RPO is a recruitment partnership for smaller or short-term projects.  

The team looks, feels, and communicates in line with your team’s hiring policies. But the team is dedicated to one thing only—employing the right people for critical roles in the shortest time possible. 

“This micro-RPO was focused on quickly filling many vacancies over a short time period—such as truck drivers and administrative staff—that were essential for the mine’s operation,” explains Agata. 

It suits companies that need to promote, recruit, and onboard staff quickly because it allows hiring teams to delegate all or part of their recruitment function to an experienced provider. 

First Nations, first priority

The internal hiring team put forward an additional performance metric for the scaled-down RPO. They wanted to ensure there was a strong preference for hiring First Nations people from the region. 

“This client was committed to building a diverse and inclusive workplace. Ensuring First Nations people are part of the operation is one way they are achieving this,” Agata says. 

Small-scale RPO strategy pays off

The intensive recruitment program paid off. The team placed 17 hires within three months, with an emphasis on rapid hiring for essential operational roles. 

“The program was particularly effective in filling positions in a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods,” Agata says. 

“The client’s strong commitment to diverse hiring practices also meant a significant number of applicants are proud First Nations people.” 

Having a partnership with an external recruitment provider allowed this miner’s internal HR team to focus on other areas of the business, but still ensure they hit their critical expansion project deadline. 


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